Writing workshop with Kerry Hudson

Led by Kerry Hudson, the writing workshop has drawn in a swarm of curious writers set to discover how to create an intricate character, one whom the audiences can love, loathe and root for.

Sitting in Fabrika Lovers, under the warm light of the stain glass, with a cup of green tea, we could have been in a salon anywhere in the world. But we’re not. And Kerry, a writer who continually falls in love with her characters, is here to take us on a journey at ZEG, the Tbilisi Storytelling Festival.

As an aspiring journalist myself, the session reclaims my own characters as old friends. Throughout the talk, they burst to life in my mind with all their idiosyncrasies and intricacies.

What makes our identity? Kerry asks, and we delve into our own personalities, and what has formed us. Everything from religion to values, childhood, sexuality and class, are brought up as elements which shape us as characters.

“You are who you are with the person you don’t need,” someone in the audience says.

Start with a character and try to understand them, what they want, what their journey will be, Kerry tells us, explaining how to form a character.

She adds that her agent hated seeing a female character’s hair color described, and she advises us to focus on subtler details about the character — sweat patches or scratches on their arms.

She encourages us to delve into our characters’ whole lives. “Your character has existed long before the reader meets them.” The best thing to do is to connect your imagination with the readers, she says, and invoke settings and sensory details.

That is probably why my favorite book is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which brings to life a thriving circus that dances with the sweet crunch of toffee apples and the light smog scent of the fire.

Kerry even answers that one question that haunts all authors: how do you get over writer’s block?

“Wine,” Kerry laughs, adding that going for a walk and interacting with people normally leads to inspiration.

Walking certainly helps me overcome writer’s block, but while I’m in Georgia, I might try the wine option too.

By Kira Taylor